The Labyrinth 2.0

17 07 2008

What brutal sprawls of twisted deathmaze encroach on our precious isle of Manhattan!  What beast-infested nooks and crannies where taxis dare not roam!  What great food-trapping beards that outgristle and outgrease any post-coital Minotaur!  What cheap and chokesome wat’ry beers!  What uninspired zombie throngs that barely conceal contempt for opening bands that aren’t half bad!  What bony, unwashed sternums unearthed by plunging V-neck collars!     

Sign marking the condemned’s entrance to their existential Inferno

To think, that even I, Caligula, could find myself in that phantom world of non-dreams and overshopping at Trader Joe’s, merely by falling asleep on the B train en route to Urban Outfitters, is too hellish an ordeal to dwell on. The human disease, thy name is Brooklyn. I shall have to put the episode behind me if I stand any chance of recovery. But the memories of clove-breath and misappropriations of irony, the gnarled syntax and pizza parlor stabbings, will haunt me for a lifetime, nay, into the afterlife.  

To say nothing of the short stories that hold together about as well as a fistful of diarrhea.  

—Caligula





Poetry In Lotion

23 06 2008

That’ll be the title of Caligula’s finest book of poems, the fourth and final volume of my masturbation collection—damned be the metacriticism of “pseudo-intellectual masturbation over masturbation itself.” Currently, however, I’m stalled on that masterpiece, and so I thought I’d clear out the cobwebs by trying some good old-fashioned non-rhyming Jap-limericks, or Haiku, as I politically correct thugs would probably insist. No matter. The images speak for themselves!

1.

Flaws in creation:

My summer-kissed fist does not

Quite fit up his ass

2.

Wilting leaves expose

Each soul’s private hurt and loss

I’ll kick your teeth in

3.

Beaten, bloodied by

McDonald’s purple Grimace

It is winter now

4.

Cutting blossoms off

Reborn trees, make hippies choose:

Nature or free speech?

—Caligula





Brand Subconsciousness

17 06 2008

Facebook community, Caligula is so sorry.  Sorry I coded an application so special, so visionary, so geared to your fickle yet stunningly limited 18 to 25-year-old imaginations.  An application you should have loved, god damn it.  But now I’ve heard your whiny voices, and I’ve gone and pulled the plug on HotLists.  Just too ahead of its time, I guess.  No, you shut up.  You Generation Y-ers turned out to be nothing but Generation Why-ers.  No, worse than that: Generation Liars.  Um….Generation Criers.  Generation Pli—whatever, you get the idea.  You were not the high-concept hedonists the mainstream media led me to expect.  You must be in denial: deep down, you don’t even care about branding, do you?  Disgusting.

If you’ve got a better idea, you probably stole it    

Someday soon you’ll understand what I was trying to accomplish, but by then it will be too late.  “How can we identify ourselves without invoking Jessica Alba and Starbucks?”  Here’s a hint: you can’t.  Good luck getting through life without telling people you’re all about Family Guy…Generation Die-ers.  

Get it?  because…I’ll kill you?…ah, fuck it. 

—Caligula





Relatively Speaking

13 06 2008

Dear Crazy, Infection-Ridden, Dog-Infatuated, Probably Homeless Lady Who Roams Central Park West:

Whoever you are under that low-quality wig of dreadlocks, thank you.

You’d think New Yorkers would be used to anything, and not glance twice when they see an emotionally warped man of my chiseled looks walk out of his luxury condo in a toga and laurels.  I guess we never live in a society as progressive as we’d like—I’ve certainly tried to put pressure on what constitutes “normal” in my lifetime, but maybe I’d given up trying to push it there, defiantly eschewing the need to fit in, even to my own detriment.

But then along you came, wearing those plastic vampire teeth that I can only assume are your cheap replacements for the genuine article, showing off that bed bug-infested inside-out fur coat, and suddenly exploding from inaudible mutters into an incoherent scream of “Time was to get busy, PLEASE!!”  Which never fails to speed up the gait of passersby.  

Also, your tendency to act as though you’re about to kidnap people’s shi tzus makes them visibly panicked.

I’m like 80% sure our neighborhood’s crazy dog lady

isn’t the ghost of Leona Helmsley

I’m not a man prone to hyperbole, but you are quite literally America’s greatest hero, nay, doused in godliness.  Because of your wrestling matches with park benches, nobody even seems to notice a harmless eccentric like yours truly these days.  It seems that after an estimable tenure, I’ve passed the torch on to another challenger of the status quo.  Oh, sure, you can’t take the twisted decadence out of me—I’m the same soulless void I always was. But a new generation is ready to follow in my footsteps, helming the ship en route to an oblivion of the cruelly absurd and absurd cruelty.

Dog-licking: why didn’t I think of that!

With rapturous admiration,

Caligula

 

 





Blissed Connection

12 06 2008

Ever have one of those moments on the subway—after what turned out to be a bitch of a girlfriend dumped you for some seagull that never stops bragging about his trash pile on Coney Island—where you look up from the soggy lip of the crumpled brown bag concealing your bottle of triple sec  and see the most beautiful, supple-necked goose you’ve ever seen, with sparkling obsidian eyes and chest plumage so triumphantly gray that it promises the thunderstorms of the next thousand years, and for some unfathomable reason she is staring not at the lime-flavored drool escaping your beak, not at the bald patch in your left wing that can’t be combed over anymore these days, not at where your ballooning gut touches your cracked foot-webbing, but looks into your very soul for a full soft radiant world of time before the train stops at West 4th street and she hops off, leaving you forever with that untarnished aura of love and longing that melts into the vague memory of what it means to be happy?

“Well fuck that,” I said.  “I’m putting a Missed Connection ad on Craigslist.”

So far this guy is the only response I’ve gotten.

Just to be clear, the soulmate I was reaching out to is not

A) Human

B) A Mexican Wrestler

 

I might have more luck staying on the C train for the next six months.

—Nero

 

 





Urban Ennui

5 06 2008

The emptiness of this city.  You feel it with every issue of the New Yorker—that piece of fiction about a family trip to the beach in 1973 simply too boring to finish, the glossily eroticized spreads of Swiss watches that are unfashionable by the time you’ve caught a glimpse.  In every Sotheby’s auction where they theorize that Rembrandt himself probably painted only the nose on this particular portrait, apprentices responsible for the rest.  At the seal show in the Central Park Zoo, these pathetic creatures squirming about for the amusement of mentally stifling families with no grasp of contraception—

Wait a minute.

Those seals are kissing!!  

That is SO FUCKING CUTE!!  

I LOVE SEALS! I LOVE ALL GOD’S CREATURES WE ARE MEANT TO LIVE IN HARMONY AND ONLY AT THIS MOMENT HAVE I REALIZED ALL THIS PERVADING MELANCHOLY WAS A SELF-INFLICTED WOUND THAT I NEED NOT

Hold on.

What the hell is that?  Did that thing get all its face skin torn off somehow?  UG. LEE.  And it’s eating a twig it just pulled off its own butt.  

What?  How dare you!  I didn’t evolve from this piece of shit!  He’s crass! He’s a slave to his appetites! He—oh, well, that temper tantrum is something I might—and using a rock to masturbate…OK, fine!  I’m no different from this brute.  Are you happy?  

Because I could not be more depressed.  Again.

—Caligula 





Vintage Verbiage

28 05 2008

Q. What’s worse than a plagarist?

A. A time-traveling plagarist.

Close friends have been reading countless drafts of my nearly-complete debut novel, American Emperor, a pseudo-pornographic odyssey through the last years of the 20th century with an effortlessly awesome Manhattanite postmodern Caesar, Baligula (too obvious?  constructive criticism welcome), at its center.  And well they should re-read this manuscript in its myriad incarnations: it’s a burgeoning, blood-spattered masterpiece. The deposed and down-on-his-luck emperor resurrects himself as high society’s most divine pillar by establishing cutthroat professional “friendships,” ensconcing himself in über-expensive fashions to the point of obsession and gruesomely torturing those who may or may not have slighted him in the past, recording every tedious detail along the way.


Intellectual thievery, thy name is Bret.

All this work only to have the hacks at Random House tell me they see unmistakable echoes of a book published 17 years ago and want no part of the inevitable legal hoopla I’m inviting.  I suppose they mean my pending lawsuit against Mr. Ellis, who is recklessly abusing his apparent ability to hopscotch through history and, frankly, flattering himself by passing off my fictions as his.  I say: “fine!”  I will take this cad on by my lonesome.  How dare he re-write my happy ending!

Just the same, I have the feeling we might hit it off. 

—Caligula